Wed, Mar 31, 2004 - Page 8 News List

History of KMT lies repeats itself

Chen Wen-chen Memorial Foundation 陳文成博士紀念基金會

Morals have been neglected during Taiwan's democratization because the government and society have ignored the issue of historical justice.

The Chen Wen-chen Incident (陳文成事件), for instance, has never been officially redressed. On July 2, 1981, Chen, an academic and dissident, returned to Taiwan from the US to visit his family. He was summoned and questioned by police. The next day his corpse was found by the Research Library of National Taiwan University.

At that time, the KMT government claimed that Chen had committed suicide, however, an autopsy performed by an American forensics expert disputed this conclusion.

But history is not without irony. A few days ago, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) said at an international press conference that the autopsy on Chen was conducted by foreign experts, adding that foreign professionals helped clarify suspicions and showed good faith to the nation. Are these really the facts?

Lies are once again being spread by Lien and Soong, who at the time of Chen's death were high-ranking officials. They make us feel ashamed.

Chen had returned to Taiwan during the Martial Law era. An outstanding Taiwanese, he returned to visit his wife and son after signing a three-year contract to teach at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania. With his aspirations and a love for Taiwan, Chen had no reason to kill himself. His corpse was found at his old university.

After an autopsy by domestic coroners, an investigation by Taipei District prosecutors and a review by the Control Yuan, the official explanation was: "There is no evidence of murder. Accidental death or suicide are probable."

The distressed family of Chen, particularly his wife, Chen Su-jen (陳素貞), had been striving to transport Chen's body to the US. But their endeavors were frustrated by intimidation from the KMT government.

The murder of Chen took place within two years of the tragedy in which former DPP chairman Lin I-hsiung's (林義雄) family was killed.

Lin's six-year-old twin daughters were brutally murdered along with their grandmother on Feb. 28, 1980. His eldest daughter, then nine-years old, was severely injured in the attack but survived.

No arrests have been made in the case. Lin and many Taiwanese believe the attack was politically motivated.

These cases darkened Taiwan's political outlook. Despite being stunned and startled, many Tai-wanese, both inside and outside the country, sought to redress the these wrongs.

Carnegie Mellon president Richard Cyert sent Morris DeGroot of the department of statistics and forensics expert

Dr. Cyril Wecht to Taipei to carry out an autopsy on Chen. After they dissected Chen's frozen body, they concluded: "Chen Wen-chen was a victim of murder. Unconscious, he was pushed down to his death from a fire ladder."

Soong, then director of the Government Information Office, obstructed redress in every possible way. Although he knew that the two Americans came to conduct an autopsy, Soong insisted that Associated Press reporter Tina Chou (周清月) replace the word "autopsy" in her stories with the phrase "inspection of Chen's body." Soong later cancelled Chou's reporter's license and deported her.

The ghost of authoritarianism continues to haunt the nation. On International Human Rights Day last December the PFP hindered Chou from visiting Taiwan and speaking at a conference held by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy. Soong and the PFP's actions are to be condemned.

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